It's Time To Turn Page On Report

By Norman Chad
Monday, December 17, 2007

I finished reading the Mitchell report over the weekend and, frankly, it disappointed me. It was just a rip-off of "The Departed" -- everyone dies!

(Hey, this baby had 311 pages, 92 players fingered, hundreds of witnesses -- and no index? If I'm a Dodger or a Yankee, I wouldn't want to spend hours and hours looking for my name. At the very least, the Mitchell report should be a "Books on Tape" selection so players can just listen to it while being injected in the buttocks.)

There are two undeniable conclusions a discerning fan can cull from the Mitchell report:

1. Jose Canseco did more for baseball than Bud Selig.

2. The Steroid Era all-stars would be a good test for the 1919 Black Sox in a best-of-nine, Arnold Rothstein-free World Series.

(You've got to admit that's a pretty good lineup Balco put together: Barry Bonds, Gary Sheffield, Jason Giambi, Jeremy Giambi, Benito Santiago, Randy Velarde, Marvin Benard and Bobby Estalella. But it proves, as always, it's tough to find good pitching.) So where do we go from here?

We all must grow up and accept it.

My goodness, the NFL was built on performance-enhancing drugs. I guarantee you the mafia and maybe Microsoft were, too, plus some of our greatest jazz musicians did cocaine. What, you going to put an asterisk in every jukebox next to Billie Holiday's "I Get a Kick Out of You"?

(By the way, can you believe that the Mitchell report -- a $20 million, 20-month investigation -- largely hinges on the words of one Kirk J. Radomski, former Mets batboy? He climbed baseball's corporate ladder the hard way; he went from towel attendant to testosterone supplier. And he was good at what he did -- this guy delivered faster than Domino's.)

Our best course of action, in terms of the Steroid Era, is to pretend it never happened. Otherwise, it's tough to go on. You think O.J. Simpson walks around golf courses thinking about June 12, 1994? You think Bill Clinton sits around McDonald's brooding about his myriad dalliances?

There's no way to clean up the past. Every number in every box score is tainted -- if we tried to adjust or nullify certain statistics, Bill James would end up in a rubber suit reading cereal box tops near a Wichita bus depot. Since we can't jump into the record book and white out the numbers, we must move on and pass judgment as we see fit.

For instance, as I suggested a couple of years ago, my solution for Barry Bonds is simply to refer to him as B*rry Bonds from here on out.


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